By BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 11/12/2014

Wishing to have children and not being able to achieve it creates some kind of discomfort in the person that wants to create a family. Through an IVF treatment pregnancy can be achieved, but sometimes it is a long and difficult way from an emotional perspective. That’s why help from psychologists specialised in fertility may be required.

For specialists there are two main factors that need to be taken into account in assisted reproduction:

  • How knowing about their reproductive problems can affect the couple .
  • Psychological support during the different phases of the treatment.

Psychological therapy in assisted reproduction

Facing infertility

There are several ways of facing an infertility diagnosis. The ideal solution is that the couple together tries to find out a way to overcome their problems, without it meaning an obstacle in their relationship. However, this situation is not the most common. When a couple turns to a fertility centre, they have already tried conceiving naturally. The fact of not being able to achieve it and the fear of not knowing why they can’t achieve it is the reason why couples turn to fertility clinics, from a psychological point of view.

The life project of the couple may shatter into pieces when they find out that they are not able to conceive naturally and they have different views about how to proceed from now on. After the visit to the doctor and the diagnosis, they may feel several strong emotions such as anger, anxiety, negation and grief. Each person is different and faces the problems in a different way, but communication in the couple is of vital importance, as well as expressing the emotions and fears freely.

Feelings assisted reproduction

Psychological support during treatment

Once the couple that needs help in order to conceive turns to an assisted reproduction treatment, they must deal with the fact that they will feel different emotions during the process, such as illusion, fear, anxiety and hope, that can put pressure and stress on the couple, which is not beneficial. The likelihood of achieving pregnancy usually decreases. If patients feel that they can no longer cope emotionally with it on their own, it’s advisable to speak to the staff of the clinic, since most of the clinics count on specialists in psychology or can get in touch with specialists in this area.

When it comes to women, the emotional ups and downs of the treatment must be added to the ones of the situation. In most of the fertility clinics, medicines that increase the hormonal levels of women are used for ovarian stimulation, which means that these drugs can have an impact on their emotional stability. The treatment has a bigger impact on women, who have to endure hormonal injections every day, deep sedation, ovarian puncture, embryo transfer, etc. Even in less aggressive treatments such as artificial insemination, the semen deposition is carried out, and even though it’s not painful, it can produce anxiety and stress for not doing anything that can affect the embryonic implantation, so that pregnancy can be achieved.

The Sociedad Española de Fertilidad (SEF, Spanish fertility society) estimates that 25% to 65% of people that turn to fertility clinics present any kind of psychological symptoms of transcendence such as anxiety, stress, anger, culpability…

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer

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  1. Featured

    Hello, I am writing about my problem because I need help!! The day when I reached my breaking point was when I was told that I can never conceive. My reproductive system is removed due to a serious infection.It was when I started avoiding people.My friends are living a life that I desperately wanted.It was unbearable. When I see people around me carrying their kids it is more than I can handle. I stop attending events where all my social circle talked about their babies,and I have nothing to contribute, because I was not having mine. I get so frustrated. I can’t even have enough words to explain. I just can’t focus on anything else. I quit my job. I remain in my room all day.I just make up excuses not meet people. Because seeing other people satisfied and happy with their complete family is more than I can handle.They all had the lives I wanted and it was so difficult to admit. I started taking pills because I can’t even sleep. I was ashamed and broken from inside.One day, my old colleague told me that infertility is now curable. A ray of hope is in-lighted in me after many years.I finally mustered strength to go for treatment. So please suggest me should I go for surrogacy. What is success rate? Suggest me some good clinics.I have one last chance. Do you guys really think surrogacy will help me? If someone got treatment of surrogacy than please share your experiences?